Living Through Darkness

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The night of the The Plague changes everything for Emma Lovell, a 17-year-old fisherman from Ashborn.

One moment, she is discussing her new job with her best friend, William Verny; the next, watching with horror as people die of the sickness known as. The Plague.

Emma knows that her beautiful life is over. She believes she will be able to make it out alive.

However, Emma finds herself troubled as things plummet down hill. Will Emma and William survive the plague?

Submitted: June 27, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 27, 2017





I woke to a continuous knocking on my door. “What?!” I groaned as I rolled out of bed.

 “Get up, you start your new job as a fisherman today!” yells my father from the other side of the door. He sounded a little tired and sick but it was probably just because he was yelling through a wall.

 “Fine, just let me get dressed,” I yell back as I walk towards my small wooden draws. I do not have the room in my small attic space for a giant wardrobe like most girls dream of. First day as a fisherman I think as I take out my rag like dress. Yep that is right, rags. When you live in a small village in England you do not exactly have the luxury of a large puffy dress. My father and I live in the small village of Ashborn on the east coast of England. The only way we can make money is by being a fisherman or a servant. I never had any interest in being a servant so my dad worked out a way for me to become a fisherman. Our town never had a female fisherman before me. I am not worried, my closest friend, William, is going to give me a few tips. Will is a fisherman, well he was. He started early last year but had to quit later the same year. He had to quit when his dad became sick, and died. I tried to help him whenever I could because his mother was not very strong and was sick quite often. Once I am dressed I stalk over to my window and throw it open. The scent of the salty sea filled my room. You could see the ships at the docks, the people running around trying to sell bread and fish and children playing around the street. I love my town, it is such a beautiful place.

I opened my door and walked down the stairs. As I reached the bottom of the stairs I heard my father cough from the kitchen. Worried, I walked as fast as my legs could carry me. When I reached the kitchen, my father was holding a handkerchief to his mouth and was coughing. The one thing that worried me was that the handkerchief was red. It was stained with blood. I hurried over to my father’s side.

 “Father, are you well?” I asked as I sat down in the chair next to him.

“I am quite well Emma,” my dad said as he straitened up.

“You are coughing blood, you cannot be well!” I protested.

“Emma, you know I don’t like it when you talk back to me.” I was about to say something when there was a knock at the door. I got up and hurried to the door. William, I thought as I reached the door. But it wasn’t him it was his little sister, Lilly, and she was crying. As soon as she saw me, she ran into my arms.

“What is the matter Lilly?” I asked as I stroked her back, trying my best to calm her. I never had much experience with little kids. My mother died giving birth to my younger brother. My brother died soon afterwards.

 “It’s mo... mother,” Lilly sobbed “she… will not… wake… up. William… sent me to fetch you”

“We better go then should we not.” I said as I quickly grabbed my coat from beside the door. I grabbed Lilly’s hand and we shot off down the road. Lilly was 8 so she had a tough time keeping up. I held her hand tight and pulled her after me. We were both gasping for breath as we reached her house. We dashed inside to see Will waiting in their small kitchen. “Emma” he whispered as he pulled me into a tight hug.

“What is the matter.” I say as I step back.

 ‘I will show you” he says as he takes my hand and drags me towards his mother’s room. As we step inside I could see his mother’s figure laying in the bed.

“Is she…” I whisper.

“dead?” Will finished “yeah. She must have died during the night. She had been poorly for the last couple of days. I thought she would get better… I guess I was wrong” he explained quietly. I pulled him into a tight hug as I whisper, “I am so sorry.” We both sat on the floor. Me holding William as he cried into my shoulder.



I woke up realizing that I was still in Emma’s arms. She was asleep. Her arms were cradling my head. We must have fallen asleep on the floor. I quickly untangled myself from her and stood up. She looked so peaceful sleeping, her long brown hair fanning out around her. She is slim but not too slim. When she was awake her blue eyes shine like the stars. “Will, are you well?” she moaned as she sat up and rubbed her eyes.

My cheeks grew hot as I blurted “I… umm, I am well.” I hoped she could not see that I was blushing through the darkness. “Emma…” I say as I realized that it was not just dark in the room but because night had fallen, “It is night time.”

“What do you mean? We were only asleep for a couple of hours.” she said as she stood up.

“I think we may have slept for more than a few hours”

“Damnit,” she groaned “that means I missed my first day as a fisherman.”

“I shall make it up to you Emma,” I promised her.

“Make up for what?” she asked, “you did not do anything.”

“I am the reason you missed your first day as a fisherman.”

“It is not your fault William, I chose to stay.” Emma explained. Suddenly Emma gasped one word “Father.”

“Emma! Are you well?” I rushed to her side.

“It is just… My father, when I left he was coughing up blood…”

“That is what my mother was doing a couple of days before she died.” I interrupted. All of the colour suddenly drained out of her face.

“I have to go find him,” she said as she dashed out of the room and down the stairs. A few seconds later I heard the front door bang shut. I felt like I should have gone after her and helped her but then I remembered something. Lilly. Where did she go while we were asleep? I rushed to her room only to find it empty. I started searching the whole house. “Lilly!” I called, “where are you!”

When I could not find her, I tried to think of a place where she could have gone. There was only one place that came to mind. Emma’s. Why was Emma always the first one to come to mind. I could not think of any other place though. I had one more quick look through the house. Then I darted out onto the street and started running as fast as I could towards Emma’s house.

As I reached the door I heard a scream from inside. Emma! I thought as I pushed through the door.

“Emma!” I called looking around wildly.

“William,” I heard her sob from upstairs. She must be in her father’s bedroom I thought as I quickly bounded up the stairs. When I reached her father’s room she was huddling in the corner her arms cradling her head. I ran to her and sat down beside her unaware of the two bodies lying on the floor.

 “Emma… what happened?” I murmured as I pulled her into a tight hug. She wiggled around until she was sitting on my lap. Her head was buried into my neck and she was still crying. I stroked her back as she sobbed “they … they are…de…de” she burst out crying.

“Who is dead?” I asked.

“Father…Lilly,” she gasped in-between sobs.

“What do you mean!” I cried as I pulled her away from me. “They cannot be dead!”

“They… they are.” She sobbed as she pointed towards the other side of the room. My eyes follow her hand. There were two bodies. One small and one large. They were both lying next to each other.

I could tell the small one was a girl her blond hair spread out like a fan behind her head. Her small chest wasn’t rising.

“Lilly!” I cried and bounded over to her. I pulled her limp body into my arms and rocked back and forth.




I sat still as William ran to his sister and took her in his arms. Everything had gone wrong that day. First Will and Lilly’s mother had died the night before, then Lilly and my father died today. I had no idea what was happening. All I knew was that there was a disease spreading throughout England and now it was affecting our small town, Ashborn. We had to call it something. The black death? No that did not sound right because people affected turned horribly pale. The Plague? That sounded about right. As I snapped back to reality I looked over to where Will was sitting. He had stopped crying but he was still cradling his sisters limp body. I stood up and walked towards him.

 “We should give them a proper burial,” I suggested as I kneeled in front of him.

“How though… we have no money,” William replied as he looked me in the eye. His bright green eyes shimmering with tears.

“We can do it by ourselves just out of town.” I said shrugging my shoulders. When I heard no reply from William I looked up to see him staring down at Lilly. “Will, what do you- “

“Do you think we could run away,” he whispered. “We could do it you know. We could run away from this hell hole and never come back.”

“Will, you know we could not do that.”

“Why though!” He cried, his voice raising.

“Please calm down Will,” I pleaded.

“We cannot be calm in a moment like this! Everything is going wrong! Can you not see that Emma? First my Mother dies then my sister and your father dies!” he yelled.  I grabbed his hand and held it tightly.

“We will get through this,” I promised, “the first thing we need to do is bury them- “

“We cannot bury them,” Will protested, “I do not want you to get sick like them so I am not taking any chances.”

“What are we going to do with them then?” I asked, my voice raising.

“I do not know Emma!” Will yelled. I looked over at him. His blonde hair was covered in dirt. He was slim but showed some muscle. He was always catching the eyes of girls that were passing by.

“What are you looking at?” asked Will.

“Ugh nothing!” I blurted as I turned away from him. I walked towards the bed and sat down on top of the covers.  “We should get some sleep.” I suggested, “you can sleep in here and I will go and sleep in my room.”  

“No, I want you to stay. I am not going to let you out of my sight,” he whispered. I looked over at him trying to catch his eye but he was not looking at me.

“Are you sure,” I ask.

“Very,” he replies as he walks towards the side of the bed. I look away as he pulls off his shirt and climbs under the covers. Even though it was a hot night I did not feel comfortable taking my clothes off. I walk to the opposite side of the bed and climb under the cover. I turn so I am on my side facing William. He was laying on his back, one arm supporting his head and the other resting by the side. He was still breathing rapidly so I knew he was not asleep.

 “William…” I whisper, “I’m scared.”

“Come here.” He whispers back through the darkness. I moved over to him so that my head was resting on his chest. Wills arms went around me and pulled me close.

“It will all be all right,” He mumbles as he falls asleep. I lay awake listening to his heartbeat. I could not fall asleep. I was too shocked about what had happened that day. After what must have been 3 hours I was still awake. No matter how much I tried to forget what happened that day I just could not. Everything had gone wrong so quickly. Now, I only have William. I trust him with my life but he seems different now that his whole family is dead. He is more protective towards me. I did not want to worry him but I did not want to stay in a room where there were two dead bodies. I carefully climbed out of bed, doing my best to not wake Will. I crept over the squeaky floor towards where my father and Lilly lay dead. I looked around the room trying to find something I could cover them with. My eyes rested on something that would be perfect. There was a large blanket folded on a chair nearby. I grabbed it and quickly draped it over them.

“God be with you father and you Lilly,” I whispered. I crept down the stairs and silently shut the front door behind me as I stepped outside into the warm breeze. I turned south and started walking.

After ten minutes of walking I came across tavern. I stepped inside to find it bustling with people. I carefully walked over to a table in the back corner trying not to draw any attention. I sat silently as I watched the people around me flutter about. 2 tables away sat two men. Every now and then I could hear them whispering. After a good hour, I got up and walked towards the door. As soon as I took one step outside I was surrounded by men. There was at least half a dozen.  “What do you want.” I hissed.  Before any one answered darkness washed over me. I thrashed around as a man’s voice whispered.

“We want you to come with us.” Before I knew it I was being swung onto someone’s shoulder. I felt that we were walking. I was being taken somewhere and there was nothing that I could do.




When I woke, Emma was gone. She probably went for a walk I thought. Emma always went for walks when she could not sleep. I climbed out of bed and slipped my shirt on. As I stood up I saw that there was a blanket draped over Lilly and Phillip, Emma’s dad. I walked past them and down the stairs. On my way, out the front door I stopped to grab my coat. I slowly closed the door behind me as I walked out onto the street. I must walk south I thought, Emma always likes to walk south.

I passed a tavern on my way. I was about to head in when I heard a scream from further down the street. It sounded exactly like Emma. I ran towards the scream. I dodged the horses and carts as I ran as fast as I could. As I reached the end of the street I thought I had lost her. Relief flooded my mind as I heard her cry out my name from a building to my left. I dashed through the door and froze at what I saw in the middle of the room. Emma. She was tied to a chair. Her mouth gagged. A knife was held at her throat. The guy holding the knife was masked. And behind stood two women, their faces to, were covered by a mask. I started forward. “I would not do that if I where you.” The masked man teased as his companions held me back.

“Let her go!” I cried trying to struggle out of the steel like grip that the women had me in.

“Give us that necklace and we will let you and the girl go,” the man articulated, pointing to my neck. To the necklace my father had given to me before he died. It was a piece of string with a golden ring hung on it. The golden ring was family heirloom and now I am going to be the one to lose it. The women let go of my arms and I reluctantly reached up to undo the necklace.

“Please do not do it Will” Emma pleaded. I caught her gaze. Her blue eyes simmering with tears.

“I am sorry Emma I have no choice,” I apologized as I untied the necklace and threw it to the masked man. In return, he untied Emma and pushed her towards me. I ran forward and caught her as she fell. I held her tight as she sobbed silently into my shoulder.

“Leave now. Before I change my mind,” Ordered the masked man. I helped Emma to her feet and together we slowly made our way towards the door.

“Let us go home.” I whispered as we left the building and stepped out onto the bustling street.

We took our time walking home. I did not want to rush Emma for she had just been through the worst day imaginable. As we neared her house I could hear something crackling, like fire. We walked around the corner and onto her street. Now I know where the crackling is coming from. A house was up in flames. I looked over at Emma. She was staring straight ahead as if I was not there. “Emma…” I started but she was already gone, racing up the street like a cat getting chased by a dog. She stopped in front of the burning house. I ran up to her and looked up at the building.


“No!” Emma cried as she collapsed into my arms. I held her tight as I watched her home-the building where we took our first steps, were we learned to talk, the building filled with so many memories-crumbles into ashes and rubble. I swung Emma up into my arms and started walking down the street. I kept walking till we reached my house. Emma went inside to get some food, water, blankets and clothing while I went around the back to saddle up my horse. I hoped on and trotted to the front of the house where Emma was waiting for me. She tossed the stuffed sack in the small carriage like thing that I had attached to Windser, my horse. I then reached down to pull her up in front of me. I reached around her to grab the reins. I egged Windser into a walk as we headed for the south gate of our small village.



I leaned back against Will as we headed for the south gates of Ashborn. By the time the gates came into view it was noon. Me and Will agreed to stop for lunch before passing through the gates. We stopped at a small park by a creek. I pulled two apples half a small loaf of bread and a flask of water out of the sack as Will tied Windser up in nearby tree. We sat down next to each other by the creek. “Are you sure we should be leaving like this?” I ask Will as I bite into my apple.

“Yeah, it would be torture to our hearts if we stay. There are to many bad memories here now,” he replies.

“I guess you are right but I am defiantly going to miss this place.” I sigh.

“Me too but do I am glad that we get to start a new life together.”

“Are you not scared.” I ask looking up at his face. His face showed great confidence.

“A little, but a whole new life. Just think about it. Two seventeen year old’s starting a new life together.”

“I guess you are right,” I agree as I kiss Will on the cheek. He Immediately blushes and I cannot stop myself from laughing. He just sits there and stares at me.

 “What?” I ask, “did I do something wrong?”

“No,” Will laughs, “I just think you are the most beautiful thing in the world.” Now it was my turn to blush. We both laugh as we stand up.

“Shall we go now?” I ask as I pack the leftover food up.

“Yes, we should be long gone by sunset.” He agrees. We both walk over to where Windser was waiting for us. I put the leftovers back in the sack as Will unties Windser and swings himself up. I grab Will’s hand and he pulls me up in front of him. I lean back against Will as Windser walks through the south gates, taking us along with him.

After a couple of hours, when the sun had started setting. I looked back the way we had just come. The village of Ashborn is now nothing but a glowing speck of dust, slowly fading away as we head towards our new lives. I look ahead of us. For what seems like miles there is only a stretch of gravel stretching out to the horizon.  And all around us there are trees and bushes and a wide empty space that seems unlimited. I close my eyes and drift into an uneasy sleep.

This is the day we are never going to forget. This is the day where we are leaving our old life and starting a new one in a new place. We are leaving all the bad memories behind and taking the good ones with us. We are going to start a new life together. We will never forget the loved ones we have lost. We are leaving this village. The village where loved ones have died, where good memories were spoiled, where we have lived in terror. We are leaving our village and never coming back.



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